Obama orders intelligence review of election hacks - Macleans.ca

Obama orders intelligence review of election hacks

Obama asks that report be completed before he leaves office

President Barack Obama addresses the overnight shooting of police officers in Dallas, Texas, in Warsaw, Poland Friday, July 8, 2016, before attending the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review of election-season cyberattacks, including the email hacks that rattled the presidential campaign and raised fresh concerns about Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, the White House said Friday.

The review, led by intelligence agencies, will be a “deep dive” into a possible pattern of increased “malicious cyber activity” timed to the campaign season, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. The review will look at the tactics, targets, key actors and the U.S. government’s response to the recent email hacks, as well as incidents reported in past elections, he said.

The president ordered up the report earlier this week and asked that it be completed before he leaves office next month, Schultz said.

“The president wanted this done under his watch because he takes it very seriously,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our elections.”

U.S. intelligence officials have accused Russia of hacking into Democratic officials’ email accounts in an attempt to interfere with the presidential campaign. The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA has concluded that Russia aimed specifically to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

The Post said the CIA presented its assessment to senators last week. The newspaper’s report cited anonymous U.S. officials who were briefed on that closed-door meeting.

Trump’s transition team was dismissive of the hacking claims Friday night, releasing a statement referring to intelligence agents as “the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations.

RELATED: The undoing of Vladimir Putin

In the months leading up to the election, email accounts of Democratic Party officials and a top Hillary Clinton campaign aide were breached, emails leaked and embarrassing and private emails posted online. Many Democrats believe the hackings benefited Trump’s bid. Trump has downplayed the possibility that Russia was involved.

Schultz said the president sought the probe as a way of improving U.S. defence against cyberattacks and was not intending to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory.

“This is not an effort to challenge the outcome of the election,” Schultz said.

Obama’s move comes as Democratic lawmakers have been pushing Obama to declassify more information about Russia’s role, fearing that Trump, who has promised a warmer relationship with Moscow, may not prioritize the issue.

Given Trump’s statements, “there is an added urgency to the need for a thorough review before President Obama leaves office next month,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee. If the administration doesn’t respond “forcefully” to such actions, “we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future,” he said.

The White House said it would make portions of the report public and would brief lawmakers and relevant state officials on the findings.

It emphasized the report would not focus solely on Russian operations or hacks involving Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Democratic National Committee accounts. Schultz stressed officials would be reviewing incidents going back to the 2008 presidential campaign, when the campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Obama were breached by hackers.

Intelligence officials have said Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney were targets of Chinese cyberattacks four years later.


Obama orders intelligence review of election hacks

  1. Obama continues to play us for a bunch of idiots.
    Just last week he told a interviewer that all official intelligence reports that he received gave no indication how dangerous and aggressive ISIL (ISIS) was.
    Now he wants the same intelligence officials to inform him about Russia’s alleged hacking into secret files concerning the recent election in which Hillary and the Democrats got their asses whipped.
    The guy is obviously lying once again in order to transfer blame for the stunning landslide election defeat from himself and his Party to some arcane Russian plot. Sorry, Barry, this lame excuse ain’t gonna fly.

  2. As President-Elect, Trump has been receiving security briefings, and one would presume that he has read the CIA report yet his rejection of the findings of the report suggests that he hasn’t read it. In fact, I can’t remember a time when Trump has referred to a written document, in any of his public statements.

    Maybe he can’t read.

    Anyway, to so adamantly reject the CIA report, he should possess some information, not contained in it, that would explain his conclusions. If so, he should say so. Failure to do so gives the impression that he is ignoring the evidence, rather than rejecting it.

    • The FBI disagrees with the CIA’s intelligence conclusions. So President-Elect Trump is not the only “Doubting Thomas”
      One could also conclude that Trump has concluded that the information and conclusions in the CIA briefings are inconclusive.
      What possible rational reason could Trump have for rejecting “conclusive” CIA reports? Are you suggesting that he is insane, or anti-American, or God knows what?

      • He should do what you did in your comment; offer reasons why he rejects the CIA report.

        • Please explain to silly, old me how exactly the Russians interfered with the American election by hacking into DNC files? How was Putin able to do that? Please tell me.
          Until you can explain what was done you’re merely repeating charges made by the Democrat Party, John McCain, and Lindsay Graham. But no details are ever given.
          Facts, please.

          • Why do I have to give you ‘facts’ but you don’t give me facts? Trump says he doesn’t need security briefings because he is smart. True, CIA reports are rarely made public documents, though there is a process to do that, and following a congressional investigation, some factual disclosure may result.

            In this case, a statement that ‘he doesn’t believe the CIA report’ isn’t sufficient explanation, and he knows it.

    • Do we really know who’s hacking whom?

      How do you know your posts are being viewed by everyone reading this board? How do you know your phone works? Pick it up and you hear a dial tone but are you getting incoming calls? How about the news? Is it real or faux? Conspiracy theories everywhere.

      The bubble is getting bigger and bigger….

  3. It really does not matter what the report says. Ms Lipson is an example of why that is the case. We are at a point where lies are more readily believed than truth. Facts no longer matter because if they don’t fit into our framework of thinking they are dismissed as lies. We are adrift no longer able to discern fact from fiction. Part of the reason for this is because we have been lied to so often through the decades by our political leadership that we have been swallowed up by our cynicism. it does not bode well for our future. “Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind”